Team RAFBF Lossiemouth

Proudly supporting The RAFBF

Accessorise your support for the RAF Benevolent Fund

We have been generously donated some beautiful pieces of jewellery to help raise funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund. Each piece is beautifully crafted and will make a stunning accessory to any outfit, whether it’s a wedding, ladies lunch, evening event or a night out with the girls. Each item is individually priced, with 100% of each sale going to the Fund, once P&P has been recovered (£2 per order please, to be added on to your payment total).

We have a selection of beautiful necklaces, earrings and bracelets made from freshwater pearls, polished shell, or crystal for you to choose from, some have matching pieces to complete the set.  Necklaces are short (approx 42cms), long (approx 122cms) or extra long (140cms). Bracelets are all approx 19cms in diameter and all earrings are pierced except if otherwise stated.

To place an order, simply pay through our Just Giving page and specify the item you would like to purchase in the message, but please remember to add £2 per order for P&P. Then email with your delivery details. Each item will arrive wrapped in tissue paper and placed in an organza bag; ready-wrapped if you wish to send it as a gift.

This is the last of our jewellery, so don’t hesitate, if you want it, buy it – it may be gone by tomorrow!


Item #1 – Freshwater pearl clip-on earrings £3.00


Item #2 – Black beads with polished and dyed shell. £3.00 (two pairs available)


Item #3 – Gold coloured freshwater pearls, green beads and polished, dyed shell. £3.00 (two pairs available)


Item #4 – Clear green synthetic beads polished and dyed shelll. £3.00 (two pairs available)


Item #5 – Elasticated coral bracelet. £5.00 (two available)


Item #6 – Unsual wrapround bracelet with synthetic crystals and dyed freshwater pearls. £5.00


Item #7 – Delicate bracelet with polished and dyed shell and synthetic beads. £5.00 (two available)


Item #8 – Bracelet of shell and synthetic beads £5.00


Item #9 – Triple strand bracelet with dyed freshwater pearls and natural crystals and a detailed clasp £6.50 (two available)


Item #10 – Delicate bracelet of dyed freshwater pearls and natural crystals. £5.00


Item #11 – Unsual cubed style necklace (short) £7.00


Item #12 – Triple strand short necklace of freshwater pearl and crystals £7.50 (two available)


Item #13 – Short necklace of natural crystal and freshwater pearl £7.00


Item #14 – Short necklace of brightly coloured coral – £7.00


Item #15 – Short, coloured freshwater pearl necklace £7.00


Item #16 – Short, single strand necklace of natural freshwater pearls. £7.00


Item #17 – Short “button” shaped coral bead necklace. £7.00


Item #18 – Short, triple strand necklace with decorated clasp of freshwater pearl and shells £7.50


Item #19 – Short triple strand necklace of dyed freshwater pearls. £9.00 (two available)


Item #20 – Short, triple strand necklace of petite, dyed freshwater pearls. £9.00


Item #21 – Vibrant, short, triple strand necklace of dyed freshwater pearls and decorative clasp. £9.00


Item #22 – Double strand, short necklace of natural and dyed freshwater pearls. £8.00


Item #23 – Short, double strand necklace of dyed and natural freshwater pearls. £8.00


Item #24 -Short, triple strand necklace of petite freshwater pearls. £9.00


Item #25 – Long rope necklace of angular, natural freshwater pearls. £10.00


Item #26 – Long, rope necklace of smooth natural freshwater pearls. £10.00 (two available)


Item # 27 – Long rope necklace of freshwater pearl, polished shell, synthetic cystals and beads. £10.00


Item #28 – Long, rope necklace of polished dyed shell and synthetic beads. £10.00


Item #29 – Long, rope necklace of dyed freshwater pearls. £10.00


Item #30 Extra long, rope necklace of smooth natural freshwater pearls. £12.00


Item #31- Short cord necklace with a glass heart containing a shell and freshwater pearl detail. £6.00


This gallery contains 32 photos

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2015 – Our Year of Fun, Fundraising and Friends

2015 has been an incredibly busy year for Team RAFBF Lossiemouth. From April right through to December we were active with our own events and attending other events within the community whilst also supporting ongoing fundraising efforts by local supporters.

Throughout the year, XV(R) Sqn have been fundraising for the Fund, aiming to raise £15,000 as part of their golf (4)100th Anniversary celebrations and we have been thrilled to be able to cheer them along at various events, including their12046962_523043424563291_7422247394089923397_n 100 Rounds of Golf challenge, the Lossiethon and their Friends & Family afternoon. Their efforts have been amazing and we can’t wait for the final total to be announced early next year.


quiznight-BenElephantFanClubOur fundraising year started, as it usually does, in April with a collection to celebrate the RAF’s birthday on the first of the month. This year we held a bucket collection in the communal areas around the station including the Combined and Officers’ Mess, which was followed by a quiz night in the Beach Bar with our ever popular quizmaster, Stuart Smylie. Both events successfully kicked off our year of fundraising by adding just over £600 to our ongoing total.London (2)
Also in April, Pauline and I were proud to attend The RAF Benevolent Fund Awards in London, as our team had been nominated in the best fundraising team category. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet some inspiring people and hear stories of challenges and fundraising carried out by supporters and beneficiaries of the Fund. Whilst there, Pauline and I took the opportunity to visit the Bomber Command Memorial which is maintained by the RAFBF. It is a wonderfully evocative memorial and a very peaceful place to say thank you to so many who have given up their lives for ours.

May saw us attend our first event, the annual vintage rally day held in Forres. This event is always a little chilly and sometimes a bit wet, but then we Scottish fundraisers are uc2csponors (1)sed to that and it’s always a great way to brush up on our banter for the year ahead. Charlotte led a great day, but with poor weather, only £86 was raised.  Our little fundraising team came of age in 2015 when we c2csponors (1)organised and carried out our very own challenge event. Starting birth as a nugget of an idea in a madman’s head, Cairngorm to Coast grew into a gruelling 66 mile hike and bike challenge from Cairngorm to RAF Lossiemouth.

Not daunted by our laac-rental-logock of experience, our enthusiasm and thirst for learning enabled uDallas Designs Logos to put on the first event of this kind in Moray. We were thrilled and overwhelmed with the support we received from Outfit Moray, Bike Revolution, Windswept Brewing Company, Dallas Designs and Arnold Clark van hire in Elgin. Without their support, we wouldn’t have been able to put the event on. The day itsec2csponors (2)lf was perfect as far as weather conditions went, with sunshine and light winds but the challenge turned out to be far more punishing than anyone imagined, with only two people completing the whole event and four others managing to reach the finish line, having been swept up from before the halfway c2c (8)change over point. C2C 15 was most definitely a practice run and we are already in the depths of planning for C2C 16 which includes a change of route and a gold, silver and bronze entry option. Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors we raised £5000 for the RAF Benevolent Fund, which we hope to match in 2016.

Armed Forces Day is celebrated every year in June and this year we were invited to attend the parade in Keith. Armed Forces Day is always a lovely opportunity for us to meet up with fellow military fun11141148_482618175272483_4915199129428368989_ndraisers and to catch up with our local Cadet Squadrons who are always great 1507677_482620488605585_2851142086012287900_nsupporters of the fund. Despite a medical emergency, which saw a member of our team being attended to by the Red Cross ambulance crew (Rob Cox cut his finger on a coconut and deemed himself unfit for duties until he had been patched), the day was a success with over £260 being made. Our tent was also turned in to a hospital tent while we offered shade to the various cadets who were overcome with the heat whilst on parade. Thankfully we had lots of sweet chocolate bars on hand to help them recover.

There was no rest for the wicked as an extremely busy July started off with a bang at RAF Lossiemouth Family and Friends Day. Blazing sunshine and a stiff breeze left Pauline, Charlotte, Stew, Craig and Sam slightly singed around the edges but they did raise around £200, which seems a fair exchange! The following weekend Stew, Mel, Craig and Charlotte attended our first Seafest 11695894_491110034423297_5215563988886661675_n (1)Lossiemo11403373_488666674667633_2868551443025200223_nuth event which drew in the local crowds thanks to some lovely sunny weather. As usual our coconut shy elicited much amusement among young and old and we managed to raise just under £200. The team was delighted when the Fund’s Edinburgh office asked us if we would like to attend the East Fortune Airshow on their behalf and so it was with much excitement that Pauline, Charlotte, Craig, Rob and I headed off for an adventure in Edinburgh at the end of July. Stew met us there on the day and we were soon set up with our 2015-07-25 09.51.12merchandise and coconut shy. With so many children (and grown-ups) to amuse, Ben Elephant was in high demand and very popular with all our visitors. We were also thrilled to be joined by Elizabeth Hall and her gorgeous vintage Singer Le Mans, Chattie, as part of her “Where They Served” tour in memory of her father. Our excitement was almost 2015-07-25 19.16.55uncontainable when we discovered we had brought in just over £1000 for the Fund, even the Red Arrows could not beat that! It was a quick tidy up and a long trip back Wheretheyserved (2)home ready to meet up with Elizabeth and Chattie at RAF Lossiemouth the next day for her tour of the station and a visit with II (AC) Sqn and Spookworks. It really was an honour to have been part of Elizabeth’s mammoth journey and we do wish her all the very best.


As fast as July ended, August began with the Lossiemouth raft race on the first weekend of the month. This is always one of our most favourite events to attend, being the biggest on our “home pa2015-08-02 12.59.37tch”, plus the weather always seems to be good! A strong offshore wind hampered our brave LOS-OFFICIAL-20150802-0615-193entrants, but the victory Trophy was proudly taken by the RAF Lossiemouth Police Dog section, with our friends, The Spitfire Sirens, winning best dressed. All in all it was a very successful day with Charlotte, Mel, Rob and I, along with Dave working hard, we were able to add another £250 to our total for the Benevolent Fund. To finish August off, we held our own great British 2015-08-23 14.21.44Sunday Lunch themed barbecue at the Beach Bar in Lossiemouth. The weather gods were well and truly on our side and gave us beaming sunshine from beginning to end, encouraging many people to come down for a burger and a drink and to say thank you to all those who took part in the Battle of Britain 75 years ago. Their generosity meant the day raised over £650 which will go towards helping our veterans, young and old.


The year may have been drawing out but we continued to work hard and in September we were thrilled to be part of Sean Allerton’s Push 500 challenge when he did a 24 hour push at RAF Lossiemouth. Sean was well hosted by 51 Squadron and joined by local Paralympian curler, Jim Gault, as well as cadets from 446 (Forres) ATC Squadron and various members of RAF Lossiemouth. It was great to have first-hand experience of Sean’s ongoing personal fundraising challenge and we look forward to seeing him again in 2016. Hot on the heels of Sean’s push, it was straight into RAF Lossiemouth’s healthy working lives event on the following Monday, where we, along with various sections on station including The Hive, Clay Pigeon Shooting Club, Ski Club, Karting Team, Ped Flight, helped LochNess (2)prLochNess (4)omote health and welfare on the Station. Perhaps not healthy but certainly good for welfare, we held our second Great British Sunday lunch event that Saturday. This time held it was in the Combined Mess at RAF Lossiemouth and was kindly hosted and served by Catering Squadron who provided a delicious full Sunday roast followed by home-made desserts. We are always so grateful when ISS and personnel from RAF Lossiemouth get involved in fundraising and were delighted when their Sunday lunch raised yet another £200 for the LochNess (1)Fund. We hardly had time to let our lunches settle before we were heading off to Inverness to the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon running festival. This was the first year the Benevolent Fund had chosen the Baxters LocLochNess (3)h Ness Marathon as one of their annual challenge events, so it was great to be there alongside our Regional Fundraisers from Edinburgh rather than being by myself! It was a lovely sunny day which helped all our runners happily complete their respective races, including committee members; Charlotte, Craig and Pauline who took part in the 5k.

October saw us launching our Grand Raffle, which we felt was aptly named, with the top prizes coming from Thales, Outfit Moray and Windswept Brewing. We were confident of good ticket sales and, as alwa12112204_521758084691825_3129786555595094717_nys, we were delighted and thrilled with the level of support from our brilliant friends and local companies, and were able to offer a long list of desirable prizes, worthy of any grand raffle!

12208778_525595437641423_7972282002523363485_nWhen other fundraising teams may have been thinking about slowing down, we were still working hard; selling raffle tickets, attending local events and generally just being busy! November started with a talk at Elgin Rotary Club, where I went along with Mick McConnell, an RAFBF beneficiary, who recounted his life changing injury in Afghanistan. Mick was joined by his bomb disposal dog, Memphis, who had been at his side during the incident and who had now retired, along with Mick, to the sunny shores of Moray with the help of the RAF Benevolent Fund. That weekend we set out our stall at our local Co-op to sell our raffle tickets and then there was a 12301543_700642263369979_4708274095003995903_n couple of weeks’ grace before two long weeks of manic effort before we could finally put our feet up! In the last week of November I popped along to a ladies’ coffee morning and evening in the Officers’ Mess, Mel supported RAF Lossiemouth’s PEd Flight’s 24 hour fund12309952_531655933702040_2243212727087143426_oraising fitness challenge, Craig attended MT Section’s winter vehicle check (where they were raising funds for the RAFBF) Mel and Sam were at the Lossiemouth Christmas lights switch on with merchandise and, finally, Stew, Mel, Joanne and I spent the day at our local Tesco selling raffle tickets and merchandise.

There was no rest for the wicked as it was straight in to a local primary school Christmas Fayre where Sam, Pauline and 12316168_532261753641458_5505840327687677415_nCharlotte sold raffle tickets, a thank you lunch hosted by the RAFBF for XV(R) Sqn members and other local supporters of the Fund before our own Christmas quiz night at the Beach Bar. As always, our quiz night was well attended and thoroughly enjoyed by all with Mel, Rob and myself being on the winning 2015-12-05 20.44.08team! I can assure you, the Windswept Brewing beer prizes were well appreciated by that point and the quiz itself raised £155 as well as a large amount towards our grand raffle total. So finally it was time for our last fundraising task of 2015; the grand raffle draw. We must say a hearty thanks to the members of XV(R) Sqn who helped with the draw and everyone who purchased tickets. Huge congratulations to all 12376447_536382689896031_6014867401208840320_nour winners and thank you for helping us raise £1375 for the RAFBF. To round off a successful year, Mel, Rob and I attended the SNCOs’ & WOs’ Mess’ Christmas Quiz, where they had kindly chosen the RAF Benevolent Fund as their charity of the night raising just short of £80.

So what did 2015 mean to us? It was an incredible year; full of fun people and fundraising, just how we like it! It also meant £14081.29 for the RAF Benevolent Fund, bringing our grand total to just under £39k since Nov 2012, which makes us incredibly proud. Thank you to every single one of you who has been part of our brilliant year, we can’t wait to see what 2016 brings.

Finally, Team RAFBF Lossiemouth and I would like to wish all our friends, fellow fundraisers, RAFBF supporters and all RAF personnel past and present and their families very happy New Year and we wish you health and happiness the 2016.

Karen Cox, Chairman

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Lenny’s London Marathon

If you follow Team RAFBF Lossiemouth on Facebook or Twitter, you can’t have missed our coverage of Wing Commander Jon “Lenny” Nixon’s marathon for the RAF Benevolent Fund.   We were  thrilled to be able to support Lenny through his journey and during the race itself and are incredibly proud of his efforts, which raised over £8,000 for the Fund.

Sadly, Lenny has moved on to pastures “greener”.  We will miss his support of our Team at RAF Lossiemouth but wish him, and his lovely family, all the very best in their new adventures, we also look forward to hearing about his new fundraising ventures!

Here’s Lenny’s full marathon story, in his own words:

The legs are sore, the battery is flat and I feel emotionally drained as I slowly start to reflect on what I have just achieved over the past months ending with me crossing the finishing line on Sunday in the world’s greatest marathon, the London Marathon. I really don’t know where to start, I guess back to the beginning…

It only feels like yesterday that I was sat one quite Saturday evening, watching TV whilst being stuck 500 miles from home and having a nice glass of wine to keep me company. I can’t quite remember what the logic was that followed for the rest of the night, I think it started with an idea to get some more followers on Twitter than a colleague of 3mine. To do this, I offered to head out running the following day if I had so many extra followers. At some point during the night, I decided to offer to do a marathon, my first if I got a 2lot of new followers – which I never imagined I would get. And so it happened, I suddenly realised that perhaps with a little haste, and definitely without thought to the consequences, I was in for a marathon and fundraising for RAF Benevolent Fund.

In the days and weeks that followed and with a lot of help from a number of people within the RAFBF family, I B1_9LDzIQAAIRkdfound out that not only was I committed to running a marathon, but I had a place in the London Marathon. A dream come true, to do my No1 lifelong goal and in the world’s greatest event. Crash, I quickly came back to Earth with a bump. I ran my first ever half marathon and it was a massive struggle, crawling over the finish line in nearly last place and to be quite honest, I was lucky to finish. This was not going to be easy but of course not, otherwise everyone would run a marathon – the reality had hit. Luckily, I had a year to train for it.

Skip forward 6 months and so the training began, now I only had 6-months to train! I downloaded an App, entered my details, pressed a button and hey presto, you will run a marathon in 4 hours and 10 minutes. I bought some expensive trainers, some running gear and got started. Sounds easy, and at the beginning it was, although the App BhKtS5DCYAA1ELnsaid I was going to run nearly 1000 miles during the training plan, which did sound like quite a lot for someone who considered 5 miles to be long enough. Luckily, that half marathon early in 2014 BhKqn61CAAAVezzhad shown to me that I had to take training seriously, or I just would not crack it. As the winter went on, I tried to stick rigidly to the plan, running 3-4 times per week, gradually hitting the gym earlier and earlier as the distances increased. Most of the winter training was done on a treadmill, simply to cold, dark, wet and windy for me to run outside. Treadmill training is a challenge, and I never managed to beat 10 miles on it before dying of boredom.

Whilst all of this was going on, I had to think about my fundraising strategy, which with advice from the Ben Fund Team was formulated. In my mind it was all about increasing my Twitter following ( and in the end Facebook and a couple of other social media sites), then waiting until the right moment to start fundraising. We agreed this would be the New Year.

The New Year arrived, the running continued, although a bad cold and too many social events had put me behind the training plan in December. January was a good month and I tried a few ideas including a weekly £1/1-hour challenge to help raise funds. People had 1-hour to sponsor at least £1 and then a lucky winner, drawn at random received a gift (some gifts were better than others)! By the end of January, I had over £1000 raised, and had put in a lot of hours and miles on the treadmill. February was a hectic month, fundraising was amazing and the money B-2fIQ1WsAI5o01started to flood in, and work was manic too. As the Commanding Officer of a Tornado Squadron that was just about to become 100 years old (the Squadron not me), I had a lot to do and not much time. The Centenary celebrations were spectacular and fitting of such a fine squadron, the fundraising quickly went through £3000 and the running reduced due to lack of time. I did manage a half marathon training run in the London parks prior to hosting a Gala Dinner, my colleagues were thinking I was mad!

Fundraising in the final few weeks went well, and i had some amazing donations from some people who have never met me, simply they love aviation and the RAF, they followed me on Twitter and they wanted to support me and the RAF Benevolent Fund, incredibly generous people. Unfortunately I picked up an injury on my right lower leg, which started to hurt more and more after each run. With not much time left, I decided best to stop training, which I did for pretty much the whole of March after the run in the parks. I restarted in April, quickly built up to a 21 mile run and then started to back off for the big day. The fundraising had gone well by this point, my target was raised of £5000 and I happily cruised in to Marathon weekend without too much stress.

The marathon weekend itself was simply amazing. I flew down to London Friday night, up early On Saturday to hit 13534the Marathon Expo and registration. Registered, got my name added to the RAFBF running vest and headed back to the hotel to relax. My family came down to the hotel, we went to the movies, had a relaxing swim in the pool and out for pasta. I left them to the rest of the evening and I headed off CDgAHRuWgAA9rFxto bed but I didn’t get much sleep, way to excited! The marathon bus left the hotel at 0545 to beat the traffic, which it did and I arrived at the start with plenty of time to get ready. The winter training in North Scotland had prepared me well for the unseasonably cold London weather, not that any of us were complaining! The minutes past and before long it was time to strip off, put kit bags on the lorries so they would get to the finish line before the runners and that was it – ready to take my place in the greatest race!

I’m not sure of the exact number, but the red start in Greenwich Park must have 15-20000 people. The horn sounded and we were off and for the next 10 minutes we gently made our way to the start line like a mass crowd exciting a major sporting or music event. A few metres from the start line, everyone around finally started to break out in to a slow jog and by the time I crossed the line, I was in full running motion with my stopwatch started and image5knowing that the chip attached to my show had started my official time, and told those following me on-line that I was off! The first 5 miles were incredibly busy, with not much space to manoeuvre and I was more worried about tripping someone up or being tripped up than anything else. Pleasingly, I was keeping up with my planned pace, not too fast and before long I was around Cutty Sark. The next 5 miles also went to plan, the crowds got bigger, the image6cheers of ‘Come on Lenny’ increased and I looked up to see Tower Bridge just ahead. Running up the shallow incline to Tower Bridge I felt a small twinge of cramp come and go in my right calf – that wasn’t expected I thought to myself. Tower Bridge was incredibly with the noise, the sheer numbers of people and the emotion of being on Tower Bridge in the London Marathon. This was something I had watched on the TV most years since the BBC started covering the event, but never dreamed it would one day be me! As I came off Tower Bridge, another shout of ‘Lenny’, I turned and it was my wife and 3 children cheering me on, that was a huge boost!

I’m not sure how much further exactly I went, it wasn’t far and then I hit the first low point. I suddenly noticed that the other side of the road I was on had runners going the other way. Another runner next to me then said that it was insane that those runners had already run 22 miles and we weren’t even at 14. If I had been feeling fresh at this point, I might have not dwelled on his comment but I wasn’t in great shape. Despite not experiencing any serious cramp during training, I was now really starting to struggle with an increasing feeling that some serious cramps were not far away and in both legs. I remember getting to around 2/3rds distance and then the cramp kicked in – both calves, both thighs, the insides of my feet and all in the space of what I think was about 1 mile. I quickly realised that this was where I had to stop thinking about finishing times and start concentrating on finishing. I tried running through it, but the pain was getting excruciating, people all around me seemed to be stopping and stretching and I just didn’t know what to do for the best.

I am not ashamed of what followed, this was about getting to the finish line now. I slowed down and started to walk, image4as quick as I could. The cramps eased and after 200 metres or so I started to run again. This (according to my GPS watch) was for about 400 metres and then the cramps were back, so I walked again, then ran and so on. And that was pretty much what happened for the next two hours. Some people around me were stopping, the numbers at the St Johns Ambulance points were slowly increasing, some were running as slow as I walked. I seemed to have found myself a strategy to get to the end, but my next concern was how long would it take. The timing of the marathon hadn’t been great, the week immediately after was my last week in my current job and I needed to be in first thing Monday morning. So what? I started to worry that I would not finish in time to make my flight from Gatwick back to Inverness! I tried to increase the amount of running and reduce the amount of walking and although this had not been my plan, the miles gradually went by and I slowly realised that I wouldn’t miss my flight and that with a little determination that I could still finish in less that 5 hours, so as I passed 20 miles, I decided that should be the new goal.

The good thing about having your name on your shirt is that the encouragement becomes personal. As the crowds got bigger, the shouts of come on Lenny, run Lenny, keep going Lenny all increased in volume and number. They CDiPgLWW0AEPO-Treally helped to, although I did feel that I was getting more shouts than all around me, not sure if that was because how I looked, the fact I was running for RAFBF or what. Whatever the reason, the encouragement kept me going, got me doing far more and longer running periods and I was now passing 22 miles. I looked over the road, and as I had done earlier, I saw hundreds of people still running the other – I had a momentary thought of sympathy for them and then I started running, come 4 miles and 5 hours to beat.

Anyone who ran on Sunday will tell you that the crowds and the noise in the last 4 miles was unbelievable. People everywhere, cheering and shouting as much as they could. I could tell that I wasn’t alone in finding it tough, a lot of image3people around me looked in trouble and I guess all of us just knew we had come to far now and we image1just had to keep going. My thighs had stopped hurting, in fact they were feeling like two lumps of concrete, my calves were starting to feel a little better and as Forest Gump would say, ‘I just kept running’. Embankment was great, I concentrated onlooking as good as I could whilst passing the Ministry of Defence and the assembled RAFBF supporters. It was only as I crossed Parliament Square that I realised that I was going to make it and that I started to take more in – I had been pretty focused on keeping moving and not much else for a couple of hours by now. 800 metres to go quickly became 600, then past the Palace, and on to the Mall. Head up, RAFBF banner out, saviour the moment and over the finish line.

CDhzvjtW8AE5f_CTo describe that feeling, given the previous 8 miles is difficult to do. I didn’t know whether to smile or cry, I felt elated yet drained. I got my medal, a finishers bag, a photo and called my wife to say I’d finished. But when she answered, I couldn’t speak, the emotion of the whole thing had taken grip of me. I eventually managed a couple of shakes words that I would be 10 minutes and I’d be at the RV point. I got my bag, worked my way through the CDhsxIZW8AIY3G5 (1)crowds and managed to meet up with her and my 3 children, tears in my eyes and unable to speak. A family hug, a few deep breaths and slowly I started to calm down. I’m not embarrassed, that is what happened and perhaps in a small way can help you understand what doing a challenge like this can do to someone. We slowly made our way out of Horse Guards and we had a laugh after my 10 year old daughter had commented how sore her feet were from walking, ‘not sure Dad will appreciate that comment given he’s just run 26 miles’ replied my wife! And is if by magic, as I walked out of Horse Guards and on to Whitehall, that emotion was gone, the sense of achievement kicked in, the medal was around my neck and I would now be able to say I was a Marathon Man, the lifelong goal has been achieved, and importantly I had raised over £8000 for a charity that is very close to my heart.

I won’t lie, I’m not a marathon convert. Despite 1000 miles of training, on the day for a reason I still don’t really understand, I really had to battle against and not with my body. What if I’d picked a slower pace, what if I’d eaten something different, what if, what if…. I think some of the pictures tell a better story than this does. However, what I do know is that the day, the run, the people of London, the overwhelming emotions at the end, the generosity of hundreds of sponsors, the finishers medal and the fact I’ve done it will live with me forever.

I hope you are inspired. Find a challenge, something you’ve always wished you would do in your life, something that you want to do but know it is going to be very tough then do it. For me, it took a silly idea on Twitter and a promise 2015-04-27 14.19.42that I knew I could not break. I didn’t want to break it, I just needed the motivation. Be imaginative with your fundraising, get a following, get them to buy in to your dream, your ambition and understand what a big challenge this is going to be. And when it is getting tough – training or on the day, think about the people who your fundraising and your pain is going to help. For me it was ‘The Few’ that really got me across the finish line – I’m a pilot, I’m a British and very proud of being in the Royal Air Force and it has been an honour to share this emotional journey with the RAFBF family.

Lenny ‘The Marathon Man’ signing off.

We think you will agree  this is a very moving and evocative blog, it certainly caused a few tears when it was read at RAFBF HQ in London!  Lenny’s Just Giving page  is still open for donations, if you have been touched by his story or, if it has inspired you to take part in a challenge to raise funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund, please visit their Challenge Events page for some great ideas.

If you would like to contact Lenny personally to congratulate him on his efforts, you can find him on Twitter.

Safe travels Lenny and keep in touch!

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RAF Way Round: Andy Reed – “The Well-Seasoned Biker”

On the 1st September, four personnel from RAF Lossiemouth will begin their epic, 3,000 mile journey around 39 MOD bases across the UK, finishing just seven days later at the Highland Military Tattoo. They hope to raise £10,000 for the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity. If you would like to join them on their adventure around the UK, please visit their Facebook Events page.

Andy Reed was introduced to the team by FS Mark Ratcliffe and was soon appreciated for his wealth of biking knowledge.  Here Andy tells us a bit more about himself and the challenge.

2014-08-25 17.01.09My name is Andy Reed and I am a fitter for Turner Estate Solutions at RAF Lossiemouth.  I was in the RAF for 27 1/2 years as a General Technician Workshop and left as a Chief Tech just over two years ago.

I have been biking for longer than I care to remember (34 years in October). Had a great time riding bikes in the RAF, started scrambling then changed to short-circuit track racing and finished up as a trials rider. It was often andyremarked that I must have been sponsored by Ginsters,  not that I can work out why.  I still ride every day and can’t imagine a day with out a motorbike and will only give up when I can’t pick them up anymore.

I am doing the challenge to raise money for what I consider to be a very worthwhile cause and to put something back into a Service that has given me so much over the years and continues to do so.

2014-06-01 11.40.09I am most looking forward to seeing the MGR at Lossiemouth on the morning we finish, and there is no downside to being on the road on a motorbike for a whole week with 3 great guys for company  (not forgetting the back up crew)

To join the ride or follow the RAF Way Round story, follow them on Facebook or Twitter
To donate, please visit their Just Giving Page

Our amazing sponsors

Our amazing sponsors

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RAF Way Round: Cpl Dave Thorne – “The Cool Red Biker”

On the 1st September, four personnel from RAF Lossiemouth will begin their epic, 3,000 mile journey around 39 MOD bases across the UK, finishing just seven days later at the Highland Military Tattoo. They hope to raise £10,000 for the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity. If you would like to join them on their adventure around the UK, please visit their Facebook Events page.

Cpl Dave Thorne was the third member of the team to join up after meeting SAC Jack Yardley at a local motorcycle club.  Dave is also a member of the  Team RAFBF Lossiemouth Committee.

2014-08-25 17.05.16My name is Cpl David Thorne and I have been serving as an Airframe Technician (mechanical) in the RAF for almost 17 years.

I’ve been motorbiking since 2008 when I took my intensive course with Fast Trak in Elgin. I actually failed my first test due to a safety error, but had a perfect ride. I flew through my second test. I bought my first bike, a Fazer 600s2 before I even passed but had to wait until I passed to collect it from Ecosse in Aberdeen and my first ride was the travel back to Lossiemouth. Four years of commuting later, and after paying off my finance, I traded the Fazer for my absolutely mint red 2002 VFR 800 vtec. The two furthest journeys I have ridden so far is Elgin to Oban and back and Elgin to Auchtermuchty and back.

I am doing the RAF Way Round as both a personal challenge to complete the distance and as a way of giving something back to the 2014-08-25 17.14.52RAF Benevolent Fund whom I believe to be the most worthwhile armed forces charity. Who knows, we may all need them someday and I would like to feel that I gave before I got!!

I am most looking forward to visiting the 39 Mod bases as I hadn’t even heard of some of them! I am also looking forward to meeting old and new friends along the way, especially catching up with The Grumpy Biker and Simon who we hosted at Lossiemouth earlier this year.

RAFWayRound SAC Jack Yardley, Sgt David ThorneThe thing I am most not looking forward to is trying staying focused and alert on day 7,  when after 6 days of continuous riding,  we have to slog our way along the motorway from Woodvale to Fort George at Ardersier for the Highland Military Tattoo. All that straight road will be mind (and bum) numbing!! Give me corners any day ….  oh and just to add, I bought a Red VFR as, the ASDA test proved, everyone loves a red bike!

To join the ride or follow the RAF Way Round story, follow them on Facebook or Twitter
To donate, please visit their Just Giving Page

Our amazing sponsors

Our amazing sponsors

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RAF Way Round: The Dawning of a New Challenge

On the 1st September, four personnel from RAF Lossiemouth will begin their epic, 3,000 mile journey around 39 MOD bases across the UK, finishing just seven days later at the Highland Military Tattoo. They hope to raise £10,000 for the RAF Benevolent Fund, the RAF’s leading welfare charity.


The RAF Way Round Logo, created by The Grumpy Biker

SAC Jack Yardley tells us how he came up with the idea and how it then grew legs and rode!

The idea came about not long after I did my CBT (compulsory basic training)  when myself and Ratty (FS Mark Ratcliffe) were in the pub for someone’s leaving do. We got chatting about bikes etc, and I mentioned how ace it would be if we could manage to visit every MoD establishment in the UK by bike for charity.

After discovering that to complete that challenge would take weeks upon weeks, Ratty suggested visiting all the RAF stations and other camps with a significant RAF presence. I asked him that once I had passed my full bike test would he be interested in doing it with me and he agreed, however it fell to the wayside when my wife announced she was pregnant.

After passing my test, and just before a deployment to OP Herrick with 617 Sqn, I asked Ratty if he was still game for it and was he happy for me to start organising stuff in preparation, once  I had returned to the UK (I should add that he is my boss after all!) This is where I came up with the name for our run. ‘THE RAF WAY ROUND’, a shameless rip off of Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman’s documentary ‘The Long way Round’

Once the go ahead was given and initial contact was made with the RAF Benevolent Fund, we started looking for other volunteers who would  like to do the run with us. Unfortunately everyone O asked couldn’t follow it through due to other commitments.

So three months, and $600 later from tailoring hats in the desert, I set about fully putting the wheels in motion. I  asked Ratty if he was still game (although he admitted that he though I’d never see it through) and Dave Thorne, who I had met through  a local motorcycling club, came on board not long after I came back from Afghanistan in February this year.

After speaking with Karen from Team RAFBF Lossiemouth about what we wanted to do and how we wanted to be noticed, we set to work on the planning stages of our trip. Routes were planned, potential sponsors contacted and social media pages created. From then on we soon found ourselves swamped with correspondence and interest from other companies. It was at this time Ratty had introduced Andy Reed to us, who had expressed an interest in joining us. As one of the most experienced motorcyclist I know, and a road knowledge almost akin to an A to Z book, it would’ve been stupid not to have him on board!

With the team complete, tonnes and tonnes of emails and phone calls made to book accommodation, liaising with other stations who were willing to help us out, approaching sponsors, keeping our media pages up to date to increase our profile and the all-important local fundraising with the bikes, we were now almost ready to set off.

We started this project over six months ago thinking that would be more than adequate time to plan and prepare. And although we are in the final week until our departure it still seems there are a mountain of things to finalise.

All in all we certainly hope that the time and effort spent on making this trip a success will allow us to hit that £10,000 that we have been pushing hard for.

RAFWayRound SAC Jack Yardley, Cpl David Thorne

Jack and Dave’s first photo call

To join the ride or follow the RAF Way Round story, follow them on Facebook or Twitter

To donate, please visit their Just Giving Page

RWR Sponsors

The various RAF Way Round sponsors

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The Sweet Taste of Fundraising

We were absolutely delighted to have raised £921.54 for RAF96 here at RAF Lossiemouth and are even more excited about just how varied the fundraising was!

To kick off RAF96 we held a collection at the RAF Lossiemouth main gate, raising £355.01 during a chilly and frantic hour at rush hour on 1st April, the RAF’s birthday.



Elgin City Football Club kindly allowed us to hold a collection during one of their home games and despite a biting wind and an extremely cold crowd, they donated a lovely £41.11.  Our Station Chaplaincy Centre held a collection,adding  £19.32 to our kitty and our Easter Animal Hunt around the shops of Lossiemouth  popped a further £36 into the RAF96 total, with a very happy Marc Macphail winning an Easter Egg.

Marc MacphailElgin City Collection  Chaplaincy Centre (1)

Our RAF Benevolent Fund funded RAF Lossiemouth Child Care Centre held a red, white and blue party with £126.50 being raised on the day and a Temple Chef night with good friends brought in another £30.00

Childcare Centre (1) Childcare Centre (5) Temple Chef (6)

Local supporter Jo Morrin donated £73 through her Neal’s Yard consultancy connections and has promised continued support through her Neal’s Yard parties! Husband and wife team, Cheryl and Chris Fox organised a kids’ party on station and made a fabulous £137 for RAFBF through entry fees and a massive tombola.

SAC(T) Chris Fox and Cheryl Fox

All these diverse events made for a very exciting and different April for us, but perhaps the most exciting of all was to have our very own RAF96 ice cream! Fochabers Ice Cream Parlour’s owner and ice cream creator extraordinaire, Sheila Gray, very kindly invented a three coloured ice cream to represent the RAF Benevolent Fund logo. The sublime and tasty combination of blue moon (type of vanilla) and cherry cola made it too good to resist which, thankfully, many didn’t and it proved very popular. Of course as representatives, we had to pop in and buy some ………. on more than one occasion! It only seemed fair!

Fochabers Ice Cream Parlour  (2) Fochabers Ice Cream Parlour  (3) Fochabers Ice Cream Parlour  (4)

Available throughout the whole of April, the ice cream generated a lot of interest on Twitter and Facebook, giving the added bonus of great social media interaction for Team RAFBF Lossiemouth, Fochabers Ice Cream Parlour and the RAFBF, raising the profile of all three of us.

It’s the connection to wonderful small, local companies like this that makes fundraising around Lossiemouth so much fun and we are extremely grateful to Sheila for her support and donation of £100 towards our RAF96 total.

Whilst our RAF96 ice cream may be a thing of the past, Sheila’s Belgium Chocolate ice cream is very much a flavour of today as are her many wonderful creations, so what are you waiting for! They are also currently among the top 10 Scottish ice cream parlours in the Daily Records Gold Cone Awards and we wish them the best of luck in the judging! You can find out more by following them on Facebook  and Twitter or simply visiting their shop at  33-35 High St, Fochabers, Morayshire IV32 7DX.

Fochabers Ice Cream Parlour  (1) 429703_360684337305748_1077882416_n

So that’s RAF96 all done and dusted but we have some great ideas to carry forward to RAF97 and can’t wait to see who else we can get involved! Thank you to everyone for all your support and for enabling us to raise such a wonderful amount locally.

River Ness by Jason Shand

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10K Challenge: Trainers, Whippets & Poo Bags at the Ready!

Bobby Keeling is a valued, hardworking and dedicated member of the Team RAFBF Lossiemouth. Despite every corner of her brain trying to tell her otherwise, Bobby has taken on a personnel challenge to organise a team and raise funds for RAFBF; she tells more in her blog:-

Team RAFBF Lossiemouth Committee with Bobby in middle Team RAFBF Lossiemouth Committee with Bobby in centre

Running has never been my exercise of choice; the ability to make what feels like a stumbling stagger look like an athletic glide escapes me.  I walk my dogs on the beach daily, but you just can’t be seen jogging next to two super sleek whippets in your revealing Lycra, swinging a couple of doggy poo bags can you? Whilst I  have many friends and acquaintances who are adding value to various marathons and triathlons across the country, it’s always been something I have admired in others and resolutely refused to do myself, I consider myself quite simply ‘not the running type’.

Looking gracefulHats on for RAFBF

So why am I writing a post about running? Because I have decided to challenge myself and enter a 10k event whilst raising money for the RAF Benevolent Fund, of course I have others who are going to join me, and I am sure they will glide ahead of me in spectacular fashion.  Despite the fact that I feel like a stumbling, staggering old knacker in earphones, despite the fact that every kerb still looms like a concrete hurdle, and even though I have to dig deep when overtaking mums pushing buggies, I am changing the habit of a lifetime.  I may even be seen trying to keep my whippets in check on the beaches of Lossiemouth, poo bags in hand, Lycra in motion.  I am still not running, but my stumbling stagger is good enough to merit the effort.  I am also lucky to count on the support of some good-humoured friends who are kind enough not to mention how slow I really am.  I intend to update posts of my experiences and even get together with other like-minded stumblers as I improve, I might even become the running type.

Socks & Pickles at full pelt Socks & Pickles proving why they are a trip hazard

Why would I do that?

Because I want your money!

I am raising money for the RAF Benevolent Fund, a fund that offers support for all those serving and retired members of the RAF and their families. They have made a difference to people I know and I am constantly amazed at how much they contribute to the fabric of support that is required behind the scenes of so many sensitive situations.  So if you donate for nothing more than a smile at the thought of me swinging my poo bags up and down West Beach, or tripping over the curb outside the Co-op, I can guarantee it will go to a great cause.


** You can sponsor Bobby and her team here: Team RAFBF Lossiemouth: Baxters River Ness 10K Challenge Just Giving Page 

** Header photo courtesy of Jason Shand from Inverness.

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The Last Post of Summer

Well as the months draw on, our summer of fundraising comes to an end.  It’s been a busy time and we have been thrilled with the support we have received from all the events we attended and wish to thank everyone who bought merchandise or took part in our tombolas.

Summer in Lossiemouth wouldn’t be complete without the annual Lossiemouth Raft Race and that wouldn’t be the same without a true Scottish downpour.  With the threat of rain looming in the distance, we set up our stall with one of the best views ever. Where else can you have a teddy tombola, looking over to an endless stretch of golden sands.

Lossiemouth Raft Race Lossiemouth Raft Race

The day went well and it was great to see an RAF team win and a lovely group of RAF wives getting best dressed.  We aren’t biased at all, but of course we do have a little favouritism.

The front was busy with families and friends all enjoying the various stalls on display, from coconut shys to tombolas, there really was something for everyone.  We were delighted with all the visitors to our stall and our teddy tombola was a huge success as usual.  We must say a huge thank you to Ross and Emma who travelled up from Coatbridge to help out on the day and to Emily Grapes and Charlotte Jennings who worked hard for us.  We were also joined by cadets from 423 Elgin Squadron who were fantastic at getting out into the crowd and promoting the RAFBF, as well as selling our animal hunt sheets and getting contenders for our lucky bucket.  Happily, our Dambusters skittle mug competition was won by a current serving member of 617 Sqn.  We must say a huge thank you to Simon Kitt Photography, who wandered around taking photographs of the event, wearing an RAFBF t-shirt to help promote the charity.

Lossiemouth Raft Race Lossiemouth Raft Race

Lossiemouth Raft Race Lossiemouth Raft Race

We are already looking forward to next year’s event and may even putting in an entry to the race ……….. any volunteers?!

A couple of weekends later, we were honoured to be invited along to XV(R) Squadron family picnic and BBQ.  The weather report was not looking good with persistent rain on offer.  In typical RAF fashion, everyone got stuck in and lots of families came along for an afternoon of fun and food.  Unfortunately the high winds meant we weren’t able to put up our RAFBF gazebo but the Squadron kindly gave us use of a 12×12 which we managed to dress up with a bit of RAF bunting for the occasion.

XV(R) Sqn Family Picnic XV(R) Sqn Family Picnic

The children all thoroughly enjoyed our animal hunt and we feel we educated a few children (and grownups) as to what a narwhal is.  It is also quite worrying how many dads couldn’t work out the mystery word when presented with the letters o, r, a, n, d,o and t. Thankfully their children were a little more switched on! We ran our usual “Guess How Many Skittles are in the Dambusters Mug” and we have to say we were very impressed with young Josh Nixon who used mathematical skill and judgement to end up only 4 out! H Dad, OC XV(R) Sqn, was thrilled to have a Dambusters mug hanging in his kitchen – it’s all in good fun at the end of the day.

Wg Cmdr Nixon Josh Nixon

It really was great to be able to spend time with the families of XV(R) Sqn and let them know a little about RAFBF, although most of them are aware due to the RAFBF’s support of the families of the airmen, tragically lost last summer.   We are also very grateful to everyone who purchased merchandise on the day.

XV(R) Sqn Family Picnic XV(R) Sqn Family Picnic

So that’s it, our summer of fun has ended but we are already planning for the winter months.  At the end of September we have a 1940’s Swing Night at the Stagger Inn to look forward to, as well as a 70/80’s Karaoke Disco night at the Beach Bar on 30th November – time to dust off those flares or leg warmers!  You kind find out more about both these events by visiting our Facebook page.

Swing Night RWB

So finally, we would like to remind you that if you wish to donate to the RAF Benevolent Fund, you can do so by visiting the RAFBF website or by texting REMEMBER to 70800 to donate £5.

Now, where did we put those RAFBF hoodies!


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Nine Walkers, Six Harbours and Fourteen Miles of Scenery

Thanks to Rob Cox for this blog on his Six Harbour Walk adventure and our thanks to Si Thorley, Raj Chawli, Rob Cox, Jake Slater, Linda Robertson, Terry Robertson, Jason Bunker, Lee Coxon and Martin Hill for taking part.

Rob says:

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